Are you and your friends looking for the ultimate outdoor adventure? Mountain biking is great for groups large and small. It gives you the freedom to explore as you leave the road behind and discover new areas that you might not be able to reach on foot.
You also don’t have to worry about running into cars. No wonder around 10 percent of the U.S. population goes mountain biking every year.
Mountain biking is typically more complicated than biking off-road. The natural world is ripe for exploring, but you will need to learn how to deal with the unexpected.
If you’re new to the sport, use these mountain bike tips to get ready for the big trip. Remember that mountain biking is more strenuous than traditional road biking. You will need to prepare your muscles for a total body workout as you test your skills in new ways.
Without roads and signs to guide the way, you will also need to learn how to plan your trip when riding in a group so you can all enjoy the experience together.
You can’t just zoom off on your own and leave your friends to rot in the dust. Riding in a group requires coordination, teamwork and lots of preparation. Keep these tips in mind to make the most of your time together on the trail:
Plan Out Your Route in Advance
Having the freedom to chart your own path comes with great responsibility. Your group should ensure you all can get where you’re going and back without getting lost or stuck along the way.
Everyone in your group should agree on the route, including the distance and difficulty level. Check with everyone to see if they are up to the challenge based on their experience level.
Everyone will also need a way to navigate to and from the destination in case they get separated. You might not get a signal for your GPS, so give everyone a paper map of the area just to be safe. Mark your route and destination on the map to keep your group on the same page.
Inspect Your Equipment
Encourage everyone to look over their mountain bike and safety gear before you all hit the road. If you are renting equipment, inspect it for damage in case as an added layer of protection.
Everyone should have access to gear that fits, including a helmet, long sleeve shirt and pants, biking shoes and pads to reduce the risk of injury. Clean off the chain if it is covered in debris and watch out for signs of rust.
Adjust the tire pressure to around 20 psi to 35 psi, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep everything you need to make quick repairs on the trail in your bag in case you get a flat.
Use Wireless Communication to Stay in Touch
It’s best to stay together when mountain biking in a group, but that’s not always possible. The path will narrow in certain sections, and some people will prefer to bike at different speeds. Use the buddy system to avoid leaving anyone behind.
Separate your group into pairs based on everyone’s riding style and experience level. Use a bike helmet with Bluetooth headset to communicate wirelessly with your companion on the trail instead of relying solely on hand signals or shouting.
It should link automatically to the closest rider, so you don’t have to interact physically with the device when riding. This makes it easy for both parties to check in on one another without stopping.
Pack the Essentials
Riding with more than one other person can increase the chances of something going wrong. You never know when someone might get a flat or fall off their bike, which can bring the fun to a halt. That’s why it’s best to be prepared for almost anything coming your way.
Bring all the mountain bike riding essentials, including food and healthy snacks, a first aid kit in case someone gets injured, sunscreen, bug spray, tools, a tire pump and a spare tube for fixing a flat.
Leave a Note
Suppose you are planning on venturing deep into nature or being gone for more than a few hours at a time. In that case, it’s always a good idea to tell someone outside the group where you plan on going and when you will return, such as a friend, your spouse or roommate, or the local park ranger.
If you get lost, the authorities will be able to find you much faster than they would without this information. Err on the side of caution to avoid getting into trouble.
The city will need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars searching for you in the wilderness, so make sure you and your group can get home on your own.
Mountain biking is always more fun in a group. Go over these tips with your companions before you depart to have as much fun as possible during your trip. Have fun and stay safe!